06 Dec 2020
I wasn't really feeling it when I set out today, on my first car-assisted wander. By the time I'd parked on Alma Vale Road in Clifton it was just starting to rain and I picked my way about in quite a desultory way. It felt strange, as I was very familiar with the area because I'd walked through it hundreds of times when I worked at the top of Whiteladies Road, and used to walk up the hill from Hotwells and through Clifton to get there, and back again, every day.
Then a complete coincidence seemed to make the change I'd been hoping for. I was standing taking a photo of Christ in the front garden of All Saints church when a couple of people walked out of the front door. I got talking with a lady I took to be part of the ministerial team, who invited me to come in and look around—something I'd always wanted to do on the morning commute. (I think we connected a bit when I recognised the name John Piper, who did the amazing windows—I learned about him while I was at Warwick, through his connections to Coventry Cathedral.
I left with much more of a spring in my step, wandered around the area a bit more, finally working out that the tennis courts I used to pass every morning are those of Clifton Lawn Tennis Club, and finally grabbing an excellent Hungarian sausage hot dog from the Budapest Cafe. I feel a lot better now than I did before I went out.
From the Budapest Cafe, Alma Vale Road.
I recently indulged myself by buying a little piece of history. I've mentioned Samuel Loxton and featured and linked to his drawings before, often in the eminently browsable Loxton Collection albums that Bristol Libraries has on Flickr. So when I saw a Loxton drawing of Hotwells pop up on eBay, I decided to get myself a little treat.
I don't think there's any Loxton drawing that features the road I actually live in—it's not very visible from anywhere else, not being one of these Clifton terraces that's perched at the top of a hill, or anything like that, and it's invisible in most views of the area. However, this Loxton drawing, Hotwells, Looking across the river from near the Clifton Bridge station, is probably the closest near-miss I've seen.
I decided to wander out one morning and see if I could reproduce the picture, and also take a photo or two of what's now become of the Clifton Bridge Station, which is still just about discernible in places.
(Then on an even stranger whim I decided to check out a possible little cut-through from Cumberland Road to the harbourside I'd been eyeing up on my commute to work, so walked to Wapping Wharf for a croissant via this potential new route, but that bit's not quite as interesting...)
In a terrible turn of events, Mokoko didn't have any almond croissants, so I just had to make do and put up with chocolate and almond. Honestly, my life is awful.
Though it did start raining quite hard soon after this, so this was my penultimate snap of the day. Helpfully I'd decided to nip back indoors and fetch my umbrella as soon as I set foot outside and saw the sky at the start of my walk, so it could have been worse...
09 Oct 2021
I could spend a lot of time at the Docks Heritage Weekend, poking my nose into industrial places along the harbourside that are usually closed off, but throw open their doors once a year to show off a bit of the backstage area of Bristol's floating harbour. In fact, I warn you: the next wander is a long one, and will have quite a few photos.
However, for today's wander, on the Saturday, my friend Lisa needed a shorter walk than our usual long rambles, as she's recovering from an operation and still a little under the weather, so we just wandered into town for some food and back, with me making mental notes of the places I wanted to come back to on the Sunday... We walked through Underfall Yard, along to the L Shed (this is the warehouse next to the M Shed museum, where they still have the kind of fun old industrial stuff that used to be crammed into the M Shed's predecessor, the old Industrial Museum), through the street food market in town to Ahh Toots for cake and then back home. So, still quite a walk, but no hills and not so much of Lisa having to hang around waiting for me to fool around taking photos as usual, at least...
The little Empire State Building is a nice touch.
Since setting up a search for Hotwells on eBay I've mostly managed to restrain myself from buying much (or in one case, was outbid, luckily for my finances.) However, I couldn't resist a 1902 flyer for a singalong at the Terrett Memorial Hall, which would have stood five minutes' walk from my flat, overlooking Howard's Lock.
I've found out a fair bit about this non-denominational seaman's mission, including tracking down both a Loxton drawing and an aerial photo of it. The main thing that's eluded me, ironically enough, is finding out who Terrett was, so as a Memorial Hall it didn't do a very good job 😀.
EDIT: Ah! Did a little more digging and found that the Bristol Archives has a Bristol Dock Company document on file called "William Terrett, Esq.; corresp. etc. re proposed erection of a Mission Hall at Cumberland Basin, 1892", so that might be worth a look once the Archives are properly open again. Given that:
Sarah Terrett died suddenly on 25 November 1889, aged 53, after speaking at a meeting of the White Ribbon Army, the temperance organization she had founded in 1878. Following her death many people sent letters of sympathy to her bereaved husband, William. One of these, from the Rev. W. F. James, a minister of the Bible Christians, makes for especially interesting reading. The Bible Christian denomination, to which Sarah and William belonged, was one of the smaller Methodist connexions, and had its heartland in rural Devon, the area where she had grown up. James recalled the hospitality he enjoyed when visiting the Terretts’ home, Church House, in Bedminster, south Bristol...
...I wonder if William Terrett built the hall in memory of his late wife. They were clearly just the kind of temperance movement people who would've founded a seaman's mission to get people together to have a nice non-alcoholic singsong rather than a night out on the tiles.
Anyway. This walk to grab a coffee from Hopper Coffee in Greville Smyth Park was mostly an excuse to post the leaflet, a few other things I found related to it, and some pictures of how the site looks now. I would suggest that the present day is not an improvement.
I find the adverts fascinating. My first optician in Bristol was Dunscombe's on St Augustine's Parade, so they were there a long time. They've closed now (or at least moved) but were still there as recently as 2008, I think. Interesting to see gas lighting systems being advertised, too!
01 Mar 2021
Normally I don't have enough time in my lunch hour to get all the way around the harbourside. This is a shame, as Wapping Wharf is a great place to get coffee and a snack, but it's pretty much diametrically (perimetrically?) opposite me on the harbour. Today I had the day off, so I decided to go and knock off a few streets around Anchor Road that I'd not covered, as well as visiting the site of the Read Dispensary (well, one of them) and dropping into Mokoko for one of their astounding almond croissants. From there I came back along the south side, checking out the views from as much of the Chocolate Path as you can venture down at the moment, and swapping from Cumberland Road to Coronation Road at Vauxhall Bridge.
There's a lot of meh photos on this walk—my chief output from this project could be politely described as "record shots"—but a few turned out well, especially those of Vauxhall Bridge from the Chocolate Path, which reminded me how much of a loss the current closure of the Chocolate Path is to walkers and cyclists in Bristol.
I dream of a future like the past, where we just had one bin, but where everything from robots to enzymes at the recycling centre nevertheless manage to pull everything back apart.